So last night we had a knockdown, drag out fight at the house. Over what? Tinkerbell sheets.
My son had a rare accident the night before so I had stripped his bed that morning, and when I went in at 7:30 to change his sheets I realized the only sheets I had available were his sister’s very awesome purple Tinkerbell sheets, since his sister had no problem using his second set of sheets on her bed (complete with race cars).
It pretty much melted down into this conversation.
Why are you putting THOSE sheets on my bed?
Because Bear, they’re all I have left that’s clean that will fit on your bed.
Begin face melting, pouting bottom life, and real tears forming.
BUT NOOO!! I hate those sheets!
Why? What’s wrong with these? I know technically they are your sister’s, but can’t you live with them for a few days? What’s the harm?
I HATE THEM! (tears streaming, feet stomping)
They are the SAME EXACT SHEETS as the ones I usually put on except they’re purple and have fairies on them. You love the Tinkerbell movies, what’s the big deal?
They’re girl sheets!!!!
Pfft. There’s no such thing you know that.
YES THEY ARE!
Why, do you start to feel like a girl when you sleep on them?
Do you think your penis will fall off if you sleep on them?
Then what’s the big deal? They are actually a bit softer than the ones you usually have.
He then proceeds to grab them from me while I am pulling the fitted sheet on the bed and tries to run with it.
FINE! SLEEP WITH NO SHEETS, I DON’T CARE! I WAS JUST TRYING TO MAKE YOU COMFORTABLE.
I’ll sleep on the couch!!!
No, you won’t because your dad’s getting up early and I don’t want him to wake you up at the butt crack of dawn too.
This debate went on for several minutes. Bear is getting more and more hysterical by the minute.
Seriously kid, I don’t know what the big deal is. There is no such thing as boy and girl stuff.
So, we compromised. I took our queen size red sheet and put it over his mattress, tucked it in, and gave him a down comforter that we use as a living room blanket to sleep with (which is purple by the way). I topped it off with the manliness pillowcases I could find, which (thanks to Grandma Mary) were handmade brown flannels with power tools on them.
What the heck did I do wrong? I have been a fairly strict gender neutral mother since before I had kids and I took Women’s Studies 101 my senior year of college. There I read Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan and a slew of other awesome women who informed me of the way we separate our children from birth to act like “girls” or “boys” is horrible.
You will never hear me say, “That’s a girl toy,” or to G “You’re so pretty.” OK, OK, maybe I do say this a lot, but come on…she is and, in fairness, I say this to Bear too all the time. I just try hard not to define her by her looks and my son by how strong he is. I try to balance it out, which usually just turns into awkward run on sentences, much like this one. So, I end up saying to G, “You’re so pretty! Ah….errr….and smart and funny…”
I am so careful not to tell my boy to “toughen up” or that “boys don’t cry” which leads my husband to accuse me of coddling. Well so be it. To tell a boy he’s not allowed to have feelings is ridiculous in my eyes. Now, I try not to encourage crying as a standard reaction (both tend towards the melodramatic when trying to get their way), however, I do allow either of them to cry if they are sad, scared or hurt in some physical way. There’s nothing wrong with that.
I want my son to experience whatever he finds interesting, whether it be machines, trucks or ballet. If the boy wants to put on toe shoes and kick it in tights, I would be overcome with joy. If G takes up an interest in football, I’d be happy too. OK, not football, that’s super dangerous. How about karate where she could learn to kick ass and take names with ample amounts of headgear and mouthguards? That’s better.
But no, I get two kids who are pretty standard boys and girls. My daughter is the toughest princess you’ll ever find. She thinks nothing of donning a pair of fairy wings and a Nerf gun and going after the boys. My son loves Tinkerbell and has a soft spot for Benji movies, but would rather figure out a Star Wars lego set than color pretty pictures.
So, I guess to sum up, I am doing an OK job of it right? I want to achieve the right balance of making them tough enough kids for this sadistic real world they will one day be entering and making them comfortable with their feelings and interests and to never be limited by their gender. My girl plays with cars, Nerf guns and trains. My boy plays with Barbies, dress up clothes and My Little Pony. If you don’t want yours to do that, then I wouldn’t come to my house, because here they get to play with anything they want. Except football, because that’s just dangerous.
PS – Happy birthday to my husband, who is on Attempt #2 to get back to work tonight. So far only an hour delay… Wish him luck, and non-trainee pilots pretty please. I’d like to keep him for a bit longer….